Consumer interests need to be given proper consideration in EU trade agreements, for example with regard to rules for international e-commerce and the question of what rights consumers have if they receive a damaged item or if they wish to make a warranty claim. Telecommunication charges (roaming) should also be negotiated in this context. This regulatory focus could be incorporated in trade agreements as a dedicated horizontal chapter on ‘trade and consumer protection’. Consumer protection rules should also be taken into account and elaborated in further detail in the different sector-specific chapters.
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’) will also affect German consumers. For example, many consumers use UK-based financial services. The chief negotiators of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament need to push for a trade or association agreement with the UK that puts consumer interests first but does not allow the four freedoms of the single market to be undermined.